NHTSA — Steering: Hydraulic Power Assist System Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

CarComplaints.com Notes: When it comes to the 2006 Ion, the biggest questions are: what big problem is going to pop up next? And how long until GM chooses to address it?

The 2006 Ion has a defective ignition switch that gave owners fits. Their keys would get stuck in the ignition, the engine wouldn’t shut off or in some cases it would shut off at the most dangerous time. The ignition was eventually recalled as part of one of the largest recalls of all-time , but it took GM 10 years to do it. Then there’s this car’s temperamental power steering which is prone to stop working randomly while driving. It too was eventually recalled, even if GM took their sweet time about it.

Lastly, it turns out a car built with plastic doors, fenders and bumpers – while fun for a game of “shopping cart bocce” – is horrible for safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,992 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2006 Saturn Ion steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #6

Nov 262011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 20 miles


I was at a stop light making a left turn, I thought my car cut off because it was very hard for me to turn. Information was flashing pwr str I drove home very carefully. Cut the car off and my boyfriend was gonna take it to O'reilys auto store. He called me to let me know that it was driving fine. Today 11-29-2011 2 days later it happened again, I was driving and all of the sudden I could barely steer the car. I brought my car home let it set for a little bit, got in the car and it drove with no problem.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #5

Aug 242011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
While traveling at city speeds (approx 35mph), the vehicle's information center sounded a "ding" and displayed a message reading "pwr str". this occurred suddenly and without warning. According to the owner's manual, the message "pwr str" indicates a power steering failure, an indication confirmed by the fact that turning the steering wheel suddenly became extremely difficult, requiring a significant amount of effort to turn the steering wheel beyond 1-2 degrees from its present location. I estimate this effort would exceed the abilities of some drivers, given the sudden onset and difference in effort required to turn the wheel before and after this problem occurs. This has happened to me on multiple occasions, including while driving at highway speeds (55-65mph) and while traveling in a parking lot (5-15mph). Turning the engine off and restarting it shortly thereafter seems to correct the problem; the message is no longer displayed and the steering works as expected. However, I have noticed with the recent incidents that turning the engine off and on again only fixes the problem for approximately one mile of travel before the problem occurs again. To date, I have managed to avoid getting into a collision as a result of this sudden loss of power steering, however I feel that this is a serious safety problem that could result in injuries or deaths if the problem were to occur while the driver is actively turning the steering wheel (e.g. turning, changing lanes, navigating a parking structure) or if the driver lacks the strength necessary to turn the wheel without functional power steering. It would seem this problem is already under investigation (NHTSA action number: RQ10004), and I would urge you to have this component recalled as it is a serious safety concern.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #4

Jun 122011

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Saturn Ion. Consumer states power steering issues the consumer stated the power steering light illuminated while driving. When the consumer attempted to get off the highway, she had a difficult time turning the steering wheel. The dealer replaced the power assist steering motor.

- Scarborough, ME, USA

problem #3

Jun 292010

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,431 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving approximately 20 mph when a chime sounded inside of the vehicle, followed by the "power steering" warning light illuminating. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who stated that the failure was contributed to the power steering assist motor. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 36,431. Updated 10/15/10 bf updated 10/19/10

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #2

Mar 022010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 27,500 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving 35 mph, the contact noticed that the power steering suddenly stopped functioning. She experienced extreme difficulty when she tried to control the steering wheel. Prior to the failure, the contact noticed that the power steering light illuminated. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph when the failure occurred. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who replaced the power steering motor at the owners expense. The failure has not recurred since the vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and informed the contact that there were no recalls on his vehicle and that they would not offer any assistance with the repairs. The current mileage was approximately 28,000. The failure mileage was approximately 27,500. Updated 09/29/10 updated 10/01/10

- Stevensville, MD, USA

problem #1

Feb 042010

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. As she was driving 35 mph the power steering light illuminated and then the power steering shut off. The vehicle was very difficult to control and maneuver to the side of the road. When the vehicle was turned on and off it reset and performed normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the diagnostic test showed that there was no failure on the vehicle. The contact will take the vehicle to the dealer again on tomorrow so that they can perform another diagnostic test. The manufacturer was contacted stating that there was nothing that could be done unless the diagnostic test indicated that there was a failure. The warranty expired and there are no recalls. The failure mileage was 55,000. Updated 03/30/10. The consumer stated the dealer replaced the power steering unit at not cost. The consumer stated there have been no more problems since. Updated 06/14/10.

- Pamplico, SC, USA

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